updated 10:55 pm EDT, Tue June 29, 2010
Verizon LTE launch plans leak early
Verizon's very early 4G plans may have surfaced tonight. A new but purportedly reliable source to BGR understands the carrier's LTE (Long Term Evolution) network should go live on November 15 and would be followed by a "slew of new devices" on Black Friday, November 26. As expected, only 25 cities would have 4G from the start, but this would be enough to cover 100 million potential customers.
The pricing would mark the end to unlimited smartphone plans and would have different tiers, but Verizon wouldn't take its cue from Sprint's WiMAX service and charge a premium for the faster access; it would be considered the same as 3G.
Starting devices weren't mentioned. Verizon has regularly cautioned that its first hardware would involve modems and routers due to the battery-hungry nature of early LTE devices, but it has also moved up 4G phones to as soon as early 2011. RIM, Samsung and other major phone designers are known to be involved, and unverified rumors so far have hinted at a possible BlackBerry Storm3 with 4G as a core feature. A Verizon iPhone has been rumored for January 2011, but LTE chipsets may not be ready for such a slim design by that point.